Kids today have no idea how big of a deal the internet was two decades ago. Before chatrooms and Google search, if you had a question, you either asked your parents or combed through 12 volumes of encyclopedias. Now, if you find a strange item, you have the power to ask millions of people across the world: “what the heck is this?”
There’s even an entire online forum dedicated to answering these questions. On Reddit’s r/whatisthisthing, you can find out what the strange slug thing on the beach was, or why your kitchen has a seemingly useless wooden stick in it. This is one corner of the internet that is safe to explore.
This Fancy Metal Stamp Looks Straight Out Of National Treasure
Photo credit: Nikatsuo / Reddit
The person who found this ornate brass sculpture originally thought that it stamped Hebrew letters. In reality, the piece is called a Bent, and it is part of the rituals of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Society.
Thanks to the internet, we know that every new inductee gets one of these things and the society reveals the meaning of the symbols during initiation.
These Look Like Sewing Scissors That Your Grandmother Would Own
Photo credit: Pedandick / Reddit
If you thought this was just a fancy pair of scissors, you’re not that far off. But the fact it is shaped like a stork should be a giveaway that they had something to do with giving birth.
It’s technically a stork clamp from the 1800s that was used to tie off the umbilical cord after birth.
Kill It With Fire
Photo credit: iChickk / Reddit
Understandably, the person who posted this asked: “What in the absolute [expletive] is ON MY CAR.” The internet kindly informed them that this is a spiny oak-slug caterpillar covered in eggs that a braconid wasp laid when the caterpillar was in its cocoon stage. I guess this person has to throw out their car now.
The old men of the internet came to the rescue when one used couldn’t figure out what they found in their dryer.
You Know Technology Has Advanced When We Can’t Recognize An Early USB
Photo credit: Tuckered__Out / Reddit
To people living in 2018, this looks like a 1980s version of a flash drive that could probably hold one megabyte of information.
A USB isn’t that far off, because this is an audiobook for the blind that plugs into a type of audio player. You might be able to find an old one in your public library.
A White Walker From Game Of Thrones Lost Their Bread Knife
Photo credit: Ewanii / Reddit
So I assumed that this bread knife just had an ornate second edge to show off. Maybe it was the craftsman’s choice. But knives with this strange edge were a common gimmick in the ’80s and ’90s that claimed to cut frozen items.
If you knew someone who loved The Shopping Channel in the ’80s, then you can probably find a few of these fancy knives still around.
Can Any Men Out There Let Us Know What This Is
Photo credit: Le-Letty / Reddit
This person found a tiny little plastic case in the dryer of their apartment building. The men of the internet were quick to let them know that this is a pill case that is often used to hold male enhancement pills. So whoever was using the dryer before this person must have had a good time.
The person who found the item coming up assumed it had a way more sinister use than it does.
This Tiny Arrow Was Found On A Hotel Roof In Malaysia
Photo credit: Iplane / Reddit
A traveler found it on the roof of their hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many hotels in Muslim countries will let guests know which direction to face during their daily prayers.
Westerners are clearly off in a world of their own because nearly 25% of the world’s population new this arrow was a Muslim prayer guide.
This Old Timey Military Manual Is Kind Of High-Tech
Photo credit: bingothebulldog / Reddit
This old military manual is a high tech adjustable binder so that you can add pages as necessary. It’s kind of like a three-ring binder for military men.
One internet user even looked up the book’s owner and found that he was a corporal in the US Army who died fighting in the Vietnam War in 1968.
This Item Found At A Festival Has Nothing To Do With Drugs
Photo credit: bedekelly / Reddit
The person who posted this photo assumed it was a lighter of some sorts for drug use because they found it at a music festival. In reality, it’s just a way to measure the depth of the grooves in your tires. Way more lame than they originally thought.
The item coming up was found in the trunk of a car and wouldn’t be recognized by any kids today.
A Reminder That Mother Nature Is Equally Cool And Terrifying
Photo credit: goforajog / Reddit
This person is lucky to be alive. They found this slug-like creature along the high-tide coast of New Zealand, and the internet quickly told them that it is the remnant of a Portuguese Man O’ War jellyfish.
It is venomous enough to kill other fish and occasionally humans. Even if it has washed up on shore and died, it’s still deadly.
These Ornate Tiny Balls Were Found In A Wall
Photo credit: Colonel_Dankly / Reddit
Fans of The Price Is Right should read up on the history of one of their most famous games, Plinko. Plinko was the offshoot of a Japanese game called Pachinko.
Gambling for cash is illegal in Japan, but you can trade in the tiny balls for “prizes.” It’s illegal to remove the balls from the casinos, so whoever took these Pachinko balls was a real rebel.
This Blast From The Past Was Found Built Into A Car’s Trunk
Photo credit: BhlooBoy / Reddit
People born before 2000 are probably able to tell that this is a CD player, but the person who found it had no idea why it was built into the trunk of their Honda Accord. Apparently, they are quite a rare addition in Hondas and can hold up to six CDs.
The kitchen item coming up has seemingly no use unless you get a little creative.
These Tiny Sticks Are Extremely Dangerous
Photo credit: gravityzebra / Reddit
These sticks look like popsicles at first, but they are sea urchin spines that have broken off. Only a select few sea urchins are poisonous, but any spine can penetrate the skin and cause pain.
Don’t worry about the sea urchins though, they can regrow their spines within a few days.
Either This Is A Fancy Bubble Blower Or Something Boring And Practical
Photo credit: sleepyguyman / Reddit
This looks like the pipe that Ariel blows bubbles out of in The Little Mermaid. Sadly, it’s a lot more boring and is just an old-timey hearing aid. Ear horns were commonplace up until we finally went digital for our hearing devices.
This specific one is a portable version that you could take with you for a night out on the town.
Photo credit: thefloorisbennylava / Reddit
This strange kitchen addition is really just a practical way to extend your countertop for specific cooking items. The cook can use it to clamp down a pasta maker or meat grinder to make it easier. That’s a cool reason, but limbo sounds way better.
The symbol carved in a door coming up has a fascinating origin story from the Depression era.
Can’t Say I’ve Ever Seen A School Bus With A Spoiler
Photo credit: Geometer_John / Reddit
If you see a spoiler on a regular car, it’s there to help stop drag and make the car go faster. School buses shouldn’t be street racing, so this spoiler is not for that.
Spoilers of busses are used in many rural areas to deflect dust and dirt to keep the back windows visible for the driver.
Some Men Didn’t Even Know What This Little Blue Mark Is For
Photo credit: LtBerry / Reddit
Someone took to the internet to ask why urinals along the west coast all had these little blue shell markers in them. Experienced men explained that the stickers indicated the “sweet spot” in a urinal where this is no splash back.
The marker can also be a fly or a bullseye.
Secret Ancient Carvings, Or Something Much More Practical?
Photo credit: ufomessenger / Reddit
This set of symbols carved into a door is a longstanding practice of transient people. “Hobo symbols” is a series of signs developed by homeless people who traveled across America during the Depression.
They were meant to help each other out and would include warnings, helpful tips, and even casual conversation.
Can Spoons Be Worn Down This Much?
Photo credit: ForeverInjured / Reddit
At first glance, I thought this spoon was just so old that it had been worn down over time on one side. In actuality, it’s just a jam spoon.
No one explained why jam spoons have a flat edge, so your guess is as good as ours. Maybe it has a double use. You can scoop the jam out of the jar with the spoon, then spread it onto toast with the flat side.
Now That I’ve Seen A Bag Sealer, I Want One
Photo credit: ILoveSwift / Reddit
This strange little contraption is a bag sealer. You just stick a plastic bag in the top and press down the clip, and it melts the plastic together to close the bag.
I’ve been living my entire life using chip clips that still let in air and make my Doritos go stale when all I needed was this invention.